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Lets talk politics, down home style

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By AMELIA MORRISON HIPPS

Welcome to Down Home Politics premier column in The Wilson Post. You can find it here every other Wednesday, and I hope youll agree that the title is pretty much what it says it is politics from a down home, common sense perspective.

Im an average citizen, just like you in many ways, I would guess. I love my God, and Im not ashamed to say it. Im grateful everyday for the blessings He has sent my way and how He meets our needs, because lets face it, I fret about paying the bills far more than I would like, just like you do probably.

I have a husband whom I love and adore and who is my best friend. Together, we worry about his sons happiness and wellbeing, just as we fuss over our four, four-legged children, that we both love as much as we would if they were the two-legged kind. Ive lost my Daddy, so as an only child, its now my job to look after Mom.And last, but certainly not least, my life is filled with a loving, though far-flung family, and a closer-to-home circle of friends who are the sort of folks you can count on no matter what.

So, as you see, Im just an average woman with a bit of a twist. I just happen to have a passionfor politics, or perhaps more accurately, for the governance ofmy city, county, state and country. I realize not everyone shares my passion, and thats perfectly OK. I just dont want folks to wake up one day and realize they have slowly let our governmental bodies have a stake in virtually everything we do or say.

I started Down Home Politics which is a blog by the same name on the Internet (www.downhomepolitics.com), and a blog and column for Wilson Living Magazine because I believe apathy has no place in politics.

Having said that let me make something very clear. Personally, I despise party politics when it comes time to govern. Mind you I didnt say I despise politics, just the political party aspect of it, and heres why.

All too often, many elected officials allow their political parties ideology to divide, not unify, our leaders. As a result, these politicians put the money of lobbyists ahead of doing whats right for the people. They forget who put them into office and who provides the tax dollars that pay their salaries. And they claim their partys way is the only correct way, treating the concept of compromise as if it were a four-letter word uttered from the mouth of the devil himself.

George Washington, our countrys first president, warned of the dangers of partisan politics in his farewell speech. Washington wrote and spoke the following words:

Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.

Sound all too familiar to todays political landscape?

These words are my north star for this column, which will not be a space where you will read a ranting for or against a particular party, but rather an explanation as to why you need to take heed of a political bodys actions.

Throughout my newspaper career, numerous people have said to me, I just dont care about politics, and that is their right. However, I take umbrage when these same people do nothing to change the political landscape they say they despise and then complain that politicians seem to have forgotten that they are accountable to the people who elected them.

Saying, I just dont care about politics, is the equivalent of saying, I dont care about the welfare of my children, my spouse, my parents, my siblings, my business, my job, my health, my friends, my house, etc. While that may sound harsh, it is true. By not caring about politics, we are basically relinquishing to the government our choice of how we can and cannot live their lives.

Like it or not, politics permeates virtually every aspect of our lives, and for that reason alone, we should all care.

So with each column, my goal will be to try and ignite a spark in those who are currently ambivalent; fan the embers of those who care, but think it doesnt matter anymore; and feed the fires of those actively trying to make a difference, so that maybe, just maybe, I can, in the words of Washington again:

Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

Amelia Morrison Hipps is a freelance political writer, columnist and consultant. Contact her at amhipps@downhomepolitics.com.

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